Pelion, SC (Paul Kirby) – What a weekend to be outside! The weather was cool, crisp and clear as the Town of Pelion held their 2019 SC Peanut Party Friday and Saturday. Likewise, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky Sunday afternoon and the temperature was comfortable as the Town of Lexington held its annual parade to honor our veterans.
Although the rides, cooking and other events started at the Peanut Party Friday, Saturday was the day that drew the heaviest crowds to the small, western Lexington County town. The parade that kicked off at 10:00 a.m. was a blast. Never a place to take itself too seriously, as entries pulled in, the Pelion Parade organizers simply said, “Find a place to jump in somewhere between the Sheriff’s Department’s boat; Oh, and don’t be behind the horses.” They later made the rounds and gave wonderful directions of where the entrants should be that worked perfectly! The staff of The Lexington Ledger were told simply, “Fall in behind that John Deere tractor,” directions that any true Pelionian could easily follow.
As it got started, the parade showed its eclectic side that makes it so much fun. There were police cars, local politicians, beauty queens, those tractors, and even a real cow with purple tennis balls placed on its short horns for added safety. Candy flew in every direction and children grabbed it up with the help of parents or older siblings. Some had huge bags full, and police officers, who all got blasted with sweets were gathering that up and distributed it to nearby kids.
After the parade, the festival site filled as all types of food vendors hawked their goods. Not to be outdone, there were crafters selling just about everything and lots of businesses too. The boiled peanuts were plentiful and delicious as members of the Ruritan Club filled container after container with them; boiled, salty and piping hot.
Next door at Shumpert’s IGA, there were giveaways galore and people streamed in and out picking up the few things they needed. As always, the Shumperts were super hospitable and an integral part of the event. You really couldn’t tell where the festival grounds stopped, and Shumpert’s parking lot began.
There was a great car show and lots of other fun things to do. Music was provided by the Pelion High School band, local entertainers, and others. It ranged from classical pieces by members of the orchestra, to gospel and some great country and western too.
On Sunday afternoon in Lexington, people started staking out their parade viewing spots around 1:00 p.m. As more arrived, family and friends welcomed each other and sat catching some rays in anticipation of the parade.
As always, the Lexington Police Department did a wonderful job of routing traffic in the right direction as the parade start time grew closer. At 3:00 p.m., the police led the way as the parade came down West Main toward South Lake.
There were a few businesses that participated, but for the most part this was about the vets. JROTC units marched right alongside color guard units from several branches of the military. The high school bands from Lexington, White Knoll, River Bluff and Pelion all marched and played patriotic tunes while the other units rolled by.
Congressman Joe Wilson, a veteran himself, and his wife Roxanne, road in a beautiful period-correct Jeep while lots of other military equipment followed. Multiple units from the local Shrine Temple came by on motorcycles, a paddy wagon, and in a jalopy straight out of the hills of West Virginia. They always add to a parade, and everyone was glad to see them there. It seemed as if it ended too soon as the police followed at the end picking up the cones to reopen the road.
It was a wonderful tribute to our Veterans and a great way to end a beautiful weekend in Lexington County! More is on the way as all the small towns will begin their Christmas celebrations along with parades in just a few weeks. Watch The Lexington Ledger for schedules of those.